Sabba7 ya m3alim, e7na gyeen netkalim. Now, can you translate and explain that greeting? Challenge accepted.
Arabic is a very intricate language that has evolved over the years in different ways, depending on the country that brewed its development. Egyptians have taken this evolution to such an extreme extent that it is more appropriate to label this as a mutated version of Arabic. It's like we Egyptians have created a whole new language, with new words being added almost every day. From eshta, to sabba7o, all the way to balboos and ba3boos - there is no end to it; it just goes on and on. One category that's everywhere and keeps changing, though, is tasbee7 aw tassyeet - kind of like an exaggerated style of greeting people. Sometimes they make no sense and most of them are just hilarious, but have you ever tried to break them down to someone who's new to the language?
Eih Ya Kbeer
Everyone's familiar with the greeting 'What’s up big guy?' In Arabic, the equivalent of 'what’s up' is 'eih el akhbar' and 'big guy' is 'ya kbeer'. Now when you say ‘eih ya kbeer’ it translates to ‘what big guy’. We don't know what big guy you're talking about; is it that one? In Arabic it's intended to mean ‘hey, how are you?’ while adding the connotation of love and/or respect. Confused much?
This is one of those atrociously deformed phrases that have mutated out of the Arabic language. Two words that have evolved twice to become what they are, only to be added to create one of the most common phrases in Egyptian Arabic. 'Saba7o' comes from 'saba7' meaning 'morning' and the 'o' actually means 'him'. 'Yasta', on the other hand, derives from 'ya osta' meaning 'driver', but originally derives from 'ya ostaz', meaning 'mister'. So, technically speaking, when you say 'saba7o yasta', you're actualy saying ‘his morning driver’. What the fuck ya welad el magnoona. The thing is that 'saba7o yasta' means ‘hey man’ or ‘whatever man,’ while adding a tinge of implied friendly respect. Lakhbata overdose!
Mashy Ya Zmeeli
This one is kind of confusing because on a literal basis the words are legit, but the connotations are way off track. When literally translated ‘mashy ya zmeeli’ says ‘I’m leaving, classmate’ or even just ‘leaving classmate'. Zmeeli can also vary to mean partner in any institution, not just a school. When an Egyptian uses the word mashy it could either mean ‘leaving’, ‘ok’, ‘whatever’, or ‘I agree’. Zmeeli’s definition also changes and is most likely used to mean ‘my friend’ or ‘my homeboy’. So what you can translate to ‘whatever, homeboy’ is actually used to mean ‘I get it, dude,’ or ‘I'm with you on this, my friend’. Super farhada.
Ya Brince El Gince
This is an all-time favourite; it is just ridiculously pointless and off track. Brince is an Egyptian way of saying 'prince' instead of saying ameer, which would be the proper translation. Now the real mindfuck comes with the word gince because it is almost impossible to really define what's intended by its meaning. First off, let's clarify that gince could mean sex or gender, which is normal. The true mindfuck is that, when we plug that into the greeting, it says ‘hey prince of sex’ or ‘hi prince of gender’. We're not even sure which gender, either. The thing is that Egyptians just love to use quick and witty rhymes with almost anything, so the gince was most probably added to musically complement brince rather than add meaning at all. Because, really, this greeting is just your basic 'what's up, dude' - ah walahy!
Tammam Ya 3amona
Simply speaking, 3amona comes from 3am which literally means ‘paternal uncle’. 3amenna means ‘our uncle’. 3amona is basically the same as 3amenna but the 'o' gives the added effect of street talk. The real twist here is that no one ever says 3amona to their uncle; as in no one, ever. 3amona is used more with friends who are older in age or greater in social stature. The variation here is that 3amona is also used in a more aggressive context depending on situations. Tammam, on the other hand, simply translates to ‘ok’, but can also have the same meanings as mashy. When tamam and 3amona are combined, they either mean ‘you got it, boss,’ or ‘as you like’ in a threatening tone. But, reality is, it literally translates to ‘ok my paternal uncle’.
Tislam Ya Sh2ee2
Tslam is a tricky one. The origin word is salam or peace which evolved into so many different words. Tslam most directly means ‘to be relieved of something’ or ‘I wish you find peace’. However, in actual usage tslam is used to mean ‘thankyou’; how peace and thanks are linked, is a really confusing matter. Sh2ee2 simply means ‘brother’; but specifically a brother from the same mama and the same baba. The peculiar thing is that brothers almost never use it to greet or communicate with one another. So tslam ya sh2ee2 literally translates to ‘I wish you get relieved my full brother’; when it fact it is used to mean ‘thanks bro’ when addressed to a friend. Begad ykhrib beet el lakhbata.
Habiby Ya Mon Bieh
Rakezzo ma3ana shwaya fi di ba2a 3ashan di mataha shwaya. This one phrase brings Egypt, France, and Turkey together. Habiby is Arabic for ‘my love’. Mon is French for ‘my’. Bieh comes from the Turkish word ‘bey’, which was the title for governors of provinces back in the Ottoman Empire. So habiby ya mon bieh literally means ‘my love my governor’. It's ok to say ‘what the fuck’ right about now, but the real 'WTF' moment should come when we tell you that habiby ya mon bieh is just used to mean ‘thanks, man’.